Different Propaganda Means in World War II Essay
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a) General Background
We know that propaganda used in war had effects on the outcome of the war from GCSE Modern World History second edition that propaganda means used in war had contributed to the war efforts which directly affected the outcome of the war. Many propaganda means such as movies and songs flourished during this era and even until today.
b) Rationale of Research
Our paper aims to show how the propaganda means helped to contribute to the war effort by “blinding” the civilians from facts, so that they would continue to support the government in their war efforts and not lose poise in the war.
The sources that we have selected were produced and used at the period of war and thus are eligible as a primary source.
c) Research Questions
* How does propaganda affect the outcome of war?
* How effectual is each different mean of propaganda?
d) Scope of Research
We will only be looking at the 4 different means of propaganda stated:
o Chaplin’s (1940) movie- “The Great Dictator”
o Almanac Singer’s (1942) song- “Round and Round Hitler’s Grave”
o Clampett’s (1942) cartoon- “Any Bonds Today”
o Smith’s (1942) propaganda poster about war bonds
We will also bring in historical knowledge that we obtained from the books and websites indicated in the bibliographical section.
e) Limitations of Research
Our paper will only discuss how propaganda is effective in the primary sources that we will be using. We will only mention how effective each of these sources are, bringing in historical background to support our view.
Our paper will only be discussing on these specific sources mentioned and not propaganda as a whole broad topic.
2. Literature Review
Chaplin’s and Clampett’s movies plus Almanac Singers’ song criticised the Axis Powers. They were anti-Nazi Propaganda and were efficient in spreading propaganda. Clampett’s cartoons and Smith’s poster appealed to the Americans to support the war through buying war bonds.
Chaplin’s movie shows that Hitler is uncivilized, as seen in a cake fight whilst discussing war issues with Italy-an ally. Clampett’s cartoon shows that the Axis Powers were uncooperative when they stepped on the ‘Dove of Peace’. Almanac Singer’s song lyrics (Appendix 2) was insulting, “Wished I had old Hitler /with a rope around his neck” and continues about dancing round Hitler’s grave. The first movie was produced to ridicule Hitler with very little purpose except for a speech (Appendix 3) because America was still a neutral country during 1940, but in Europe war had commenced.
All resources made use of either audio or visual. It was the era whereby poems were no longer effectual and popular means of expression. Hence, propaganda was conveyed in posters, songs aired on radio and movies in theatres worldwide. Audio and visual aids provided a lucid picture of happenings and task definition enabling the government to easily persuade the people to do their biddings. The movies were directed by famous people (such as Warner Brothers, Charles Chaplin), whom civilians thought were trust-worthy and thus easily swayed.
Moreover, most propaganda accentuates the importance of war bonds in the War. Bugs Bunny in “Any Bonds Today” (Appendix 6) was saying that without the bonds, we ‘can’t make tomorrow’s plan’, which is to win the war. Even in this song there is a propaganda poster (Appendix 5) on war, patriotism and to procure war bonds (Appendix 4). Smith’s poster was specifically on war bonds but just in a different form. The poster illustrates the repercussions without war bonds and shows a Nazi shadow cast over children. Therefore, buying bonds will safeguard them from the Axis.
Patriotism resulted in exceedingly successful recruitment and maintenance of peace in the country. Patriotism prevented war at home while combating enemies. It was evoked through a poster signifying victory (Appendix 5), shown as the backdrop of Clampett’s movie and also through criticising and making Axis Powers look inferior. Hence, Allies gain confidence.
Not all movies were totally censored by the government and thus contained more truths. However, animated cartoons were still successful. The audience were predominantly children and upon listening to the catchy tunes and vivid pictures, persuade their parents into buying bonds for their well-being. The success of war propaganda for bonds reaped 185 billion dollars – enabling the vast expansion of arms. Chaplin’s speech gave Germany hope that ‘when dictators die, liberty will return to the people’; this helped alleviate tension in Europe. The song (Appendix 2) was performed by a band formed by the government for propaganda purposes. Their songs were highly popular at that era and helped stir patriotism in the Americans. All the propaganda, even if not asking to acquire war bonds, was useful in convincing the people that the Axis were inferior to the Allies.
3. Research Methodology
We have evaluated the germane resources that we can access and selected four sources that we will be using in our paper. These sources are primary sources as they were produced and released during World War II.
After the selection of the resources, we analysed each of the sources individually to detect the characteristics of each source. We also accessed the impact they had at that time derived from historical knowledge.
We then look at critics’ standpoint of these sources and found out that reviews and critics on these sources were scarce and extraneous to our paper and we decided to prohibit these critics, as most did not have any relevance to our paper.
Subsequently, we look at all the sources and list down their similarities and differences from the examination of each source.
4. Results & Analysis
All the sources that we have used proved to be valuable in showing us the influence these propaganda tools may even have on us. These sources were used by the Allies to convince the civilians that the Axis Powers are the “unscrupulous guys” and they are to remove these threats.
Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” and Almanac Singers’ “Round and Round Hitler’s Grave” were aimed at Hitler and the purpose of the movie was to destroy Hitler’s reputation. These sources ridicule Hitler and persuaded the people to despise and condemn him.
Clampett’s cartoons and Smith’s poster applied more to the persuasion of the civilians to buy war bonds to help to lighten the burden the economy have to take. These sources use patriotism to persuade the civilians to help to buy war bonds.
a. Has our research proved our hypothesis correct / wrong?
Our research has proven our hypothesis correct. Our research had shown that propaganda helped to collect the necessary resources needed for war, which is money and manpower. In World War II, propaganda means had evolved into sophisticated structure where many factors are included. Propaganda became an essential tool that would be necessary in war, as it would help the government to haul support from the civilians in order to get enough resources for war.
b. Questions for further research
1) Why did poems lose popularity as a form of propaganda means in World War 2?
2) How did movies gain popularity as propaganda means in the war?
3) Why were Audio Aids more effective than Audio-Visual Aids in the war as a propaganda tool?
Lowe, Norman (1997) Mastering Modern World History third edition. New York: Palgrave Publishers Ltd
Tate, Nicholas (1999) A History of the Modern World 1917-1952 fifth edition. Singapore: Federal Publications Pte Ltd
Walsh, Ben (2002) GCSE Modern World History second edition. London: John Murray Publisher’s Ltd
Many thanks to our mentor Miss Foo Yang Yann for helping us out in many areas of our paper.
Clown Ministry (2003). Text of Charlie Chaplin’s speech from The Great Dictator, aka “Look up, Hannah”. http://www.clown-ministry.com/Articles/Poetry/chaplin-great-dictator.html, last accessed 7 Aug 2003.
Florit, Luis A. (2003). The Speech of The Great Dictator. http://w3.impa.br/~luis/chaplin.html, last accessed 7 Aug 2003.
Geer, Goopy (2003). Goopy Geer’s Rare Cartoons Page – War Cartoons. http://members.fortunecity.com/goopygeer2/, last accessed 7 Aug 2003.
Helfert, Manfred (2003). Round And Round Hitler’s Grave (Woody Guthrie/Millard Lampell/Pete Seeger). http://www.geocities.com/Nashville/3448/round.html, last accessed 7 Aug 2003.
National Archives and Records Administration (2003). NARA | Exhibit Hall | Exhibit Hall Main Page. http://www.archives.gov/exhibit_hall/, last accessed 7 Aug 2003.
Rotten Tomatoes (2003). The Great Dictator (1940): Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie, Charlie Chaplin. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/TheGreatDictator-1008790/, last accessed 7 Aug 2003.